Private Student Loan Programs

In addition to federal student loan programs, at times it becomes necessary for a student to borrow a private alternative loan to help cover educational expenses. Students are advised to exhaust all possible Federal Student Aid options (including grants, loans, and work-study) before pursuing a private alternative loan. Please see Applying for Financial Aid for further information regarding the application process for Federal Student Aid.

Private alternative loans are borrowed from a lender, such as a bank, credit union, or financial institution. Interest rates, loan limits, eligibility criteria, and repayment terms of private alternative loans will vary among different lenders. These types of loans also typically require the borrower to obtain a credit-worthy co-signer. Private alternative loans do not offer the same benefits and provisions as federal student loans.

You are free to choose any lender you would like. SDSM&T’s lender list is available at FASTChoice, which provides assistance in comparing different lenders and loan programs. In selecting lenders for this list, SDSM&T considered factors such as: past loan volume, a proven record of customer service, range of availability, and lenders who are well-established within the industry. Again, you may select any lender you choose, even if they are not on this list.

SDSM&T FASTChoice Lender List

On February 14, 2010, the Private Student Loan Transparency and Improvement Act went into effect which requires that lenders obtain disclosure information and self-certification from borrowers prior to disbursement of loan funds. As a result, you should plan on 2 to 4 weeks of processing time for a private alternative loan.